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Another Tory advisor quits Downing Street in disgust at #BorisJohnson

Elena Narozanski: it seems she’s an amateur boxer.

Elena Narozanski, formerly Boris Johnson’s special advisor on women and equalities, DCMS, and extremism, has become the fifth Downing Street aide to walk out within 24 hours.

And while Tory MPs have been desperately trying to spin the resignations as signs that Johnson is following through on his pledge to clean up what is fast becoming politics’ street of shame, the Tories have admitted that she was not pushed out.

The timing of the resignation – it was announced just after 7.30am today (February 4) left egg on the face of Tory Energy minister Greg Hands, who had already appeared on the morning media round to say that the four resignations yesterday were “the end of the matter” and “the time is now to move on”.

Hands appeared on BBC Breakfast minutes later, trying to tell Naga Munchetty that all the resignations were part of Boris Johnson’s previously-announced shake-up of Downing Street and its practices.

Ms Munchetty made mincemeat of the minister:

According to the Mirror,

Ms Narozanski is said to have been an ally to Ms Mirza and was not part of the clearout.

Former No 10 aide Nikki da Costa said she is “one of the most principled women I know”, adding: “Another big loss to the policy unit.”

This view seems to have been confirmed by Johnson himself, as he has given a desperate speech to Number 10 staff, apparently in a bid to stop further resignations.

He is said to have quoted from Disney film The Lion King, saying, “Change is good.”

But he also admitted, “This is a challenging time.”

I’ll say!

Minutes after this speech, a Downing Street spokesman had to insist that Johnson has not lost control of Number 10 – which of course indicates that he has.

Former Tory minister Malcolm Rifkind has described him as “Toxic”.

And it seems the only thing keeping many Tory backbenchers from demanding a change of leader is the lack of any strong challenger to replace him.

Johnson has surrounded himself with a Cabinet of – shall we say – lesser talents. MPs think Rishi Sunak would not “wow the crowds” while Liz Truss is “too big for her boots”.

Tom Tugendhat, who chairs the Commons Foreign Affairs committee, has said he would run for election to replace Johnson – but very few people seem to have noticed.

It seems all the talent in the Tory Party was expelled when Johnson rid his government of more than 20 members who refused to support his Brexit, back in 2019 – and how right they were!

Now, with public confidence in the prime minister plummetting, it seems ironic that one of his earliest decisions as leader could signal the death knell for his party.

Source: Toxic Boris Johnson hit by FIFTH resignation – minutes after top Tory says ‘move on’ – Mirror Online

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Four Johnson advisors quit in disgust – and Tory MPs say he’s doing a great job! What?

Isolated: Boris Johnson has tried to show strong leadership by accepting resignations from top advisors who were going anyway. All he has done is show that he is isolated from anybody who could have helped him retain his position as prime minister.

After This Site (and many others) reported that Boris Johnson’s policy advisor Munira Mirza quit her role – after 14 years with him – in disgust at his attempt to shame Keir Starmer for failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile, a further three advisors have quit.

This is hardly a sign of good leadership.

But here are a couple of brainless Tory MP drones saying it’s a sign that Johnson is doing a brilliant job!

What gives?

I’ll tell you – but you won’t be happy with Boris Johnson when I’m done!

It seems the resignation of Munira Mirza actually rocked Johnson hard. She had been with him for 14 years and quitting in the way she did sent a very clear message that he should be ejected from office; no ifs, no buts.

It left him in a very difficult position, with his authority – and his ability to restore order to Downing Street – under serious question.

So he cast around for a way to at least appear to be exerting control – and his gaze fell on three other advisors:  director of communications Jack Doyle, principal private secretary Martin Reynolds and chief of staff Dan Rosenfield.

All have been implicated in the Partygate scandal.

It seems Johnson reasoned that, if he pushed them out, he would present an appearance of acting decisively to restore order to Downing Street after the parties in which they were all involved.

Doyle and Rosenfield are said to have taken part in a party on December 18, 2020, and Doyle is said to have participated in at least one other event. Reynolds allegedly invited around 100 Downing Street staff to a “bring your own booze” party in the garden of 10 Downing Street in May 2020 when the UK was under strict lockdown.

But…

Doyle is also known to have wanted to quit his job after two years in any event, and it is understood that Johnson had previously refused his resignation.

Accepting it now merely makes Johnson look like a scurrilous (as Ms Mirza put it) opportunist and that, rather than forcing anybody out, he is in fact finally letting them go – because it suits him, not them.

Similarly, Rosenfield and Reynolds may have resigned because they feel it is the honourable thing to do after the party revelations. That would lend credence to allegations that these events took place, of course, in contravention of lockdown rules.

So instead of forcing out people who broke the rules, in order to restore order at Number 10, it seems Johnson is instead trying to spin the loss of three top advisors to his advantage.

It won’t work – or shouldn’t, in spite of the best efforts of nobodies like Stuart (who?) Anderson and Chris (who?) Clarkson.

The reason is clear:

No matter why they went, the four resignations mean Johnson has removed the entire top layer of management at 10 Downing Street, isolating himself from his party and showing he lacks any management ability at all – when he should be trying to show strong leadership. And there are plenty of us who can see that.

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Turning advisors into #scapegoats won’t help #BorisJohnson – for these obvious reasons

His only working strategy: Boris Johnson hasn’t thought through his plan to sack all the advisors who know all the rules he has been breaking since he became prime minister. What does he think they will do?

Boris Johnson is the stupidest prime minister the UK has had in decades if he thinks sacking his top team will help him.

These are the people who know everything that has been going in in Johnson’s corrupt Tory administration since he became prime minister in 2019. They have the keys to all the cupboards where the skeletons are buried.

After Dominic Cummings, Johnson should know that it is much better for him to have people inside his tent – if you will forgive the expression, pissing out, than outside it, pissing in.

Personally, This Writer cannot wait to hear the stories that will come out in the weeks and months after any such boneheaded move by Johnson.

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Did Tory ‘politics steeped in division’ force Johnson’s top black advisor to quit?

‘Politics steeped in division’: Samuel Kasumu.

Samuel Kasumu, the Tory government’s top advisor on ethnic minorities, has finally quit – over a controversial report that claims there’s no institutional racism in the UK.

Mr Kasumu is known to have had deep concerns about government policy on race; he submitted his resignation in February, while working to promote the Covid-19 vaccination programme among minority ethnic groups.

At the time, he accused the Tory government of promoting “a politics steeped in division”.

He agreed to remain only after senior government figures like Nadhim Zahawi lobbied him to stay on.

It seems the racism report was the last straw.

Sadly we have no comment from Mr Kasumu himself explaining the reasoning behind his decision.

Downing Street has leapt in to “manage” the resignation with a claim that he had been planning to leave the government in May anyway.

That may be true, but: It isn’t May now. It’s April. Therefore he has left early. And right after publication of a report whitewashing the government’s record on racism – a record he has very clearly criticised in the past.

In This Writer’s opinion, there’s only one conclusion to draw:

The Tories’ top black advisor quit because he knows his government is racist and he can’t stand the hypocrisy any more.

Even the Tory-supporting BBC seems to agree:

Samuel Kasumu has been unhappy with the government’s stance on race for some time, sources say.

Source: Samuel Kasumu: PM’s adviser quits amid row over race report – BBC News

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Advisor who got Tories to buy useless PPE loses his unpaid position. Is that really enough?

Liz Truss: she slipped her buddy Andrew Mills £150 million for useless PPE, launching a huge corruption scandal in the process. Now the Tories have quietly dropped him from his position as an unpaid advisor to the Board of Trade.

Some might say it’s poetic justice that Andrew Mills, the man who advised Liz Truss to buy unusable face masks for the NHS, has lost his position as an advisor to the Board of Trade.

But what’s happened to all the money that she paid the firm he also (as it happens) advises, Ayanda Capital?

Was that repaid?

If not, then it seems the loss of his unpaid position – as part of a wider reshuffle and not even connected to the PPE scandal – is no punishment at all.

Source: Adviser in £150m PPE scandal is axed | News | The Times

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Tory advisor Neil Ferguson resigns after breaking social distancing rules

Neil Ferguson: he broke the rules so he quit. If only some Tories had the same integrity after the event.

How typical of the Tory government and its cronies: this guy joined the others in imposing rules on the rest of us, then decided they didn’t apply to him.

But whereas his politician colleagues have just carried on in-post, doing whatever they like because they can, at least Neil Ferguson has had the integrity to own up and quit.

Personally, I can’t blame him for wanting some pleasant company. After nearly six weeks of lockdown, I’m starting to look forward to seeing customers at the supermarket (albeit at two metres’ distance).

The difference is, I would not endanger others for the sake of a moment’s selfishness.

That’s why this man had to go. Now go back and think on what this says about the Tory politicians.

A key scientist advising the government on the coronavirus pandemic has resigned after reportedly flouting social distancing restrictions, admitting he made an “error of judgement”.

Professor Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist whose modelling convinced Boris Johnson to press ahead with a UK-wide lockdown, stood down from the scientific advisory group for emergencies (Sage) after allegations emerged in the Daily Telegraph.

It was claimed on Tuesday evening that professor Ferguson had allowed a woman to visit him at home in London at least two occasions during the lockdown – despite strict rules against mixing households.

Source: Neil Ferguson: Government coronavirus adviser quits after breaking lockdown rules | The Independent

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Government advisor on anti-Semitism won’t listen to Jews

Not inspiring confidence: John Mann.

Former Labour MP John Mann seems to have got the hang of working for the Tories very quickly: like them, he has adopted a strategy of talking at us, but refusing to listen to what we have to say.

In other words, as the government’s advisor on anti-Semitism, he’s no damn good at all.

Michael Rosen – who, let’s be honest, has had a lot to say about anti-Semitism and the way accusations of the same have been weaponised as a political tool by Conservatives – tried to contact Lord Mann about anti-Semitism in the Conservative Party (remember the Tories ennobled him as part of the deal to get him working for them. Some people sell out more easily than others, it seems).

Here, he tells us of the response he received:

Nice.

So it seems the anti-Semitism “Czar” either doesn’t understand his job description or lies about it, and is so uninterested in doing his job that he brands others with insulting labels.

Isn’t that exactly the kind of behaviour that he’s supposed to be fighting?

It is also symptomatic of the kind of government we can expect from Conservatives: the kind that wants to make us listen when it makes pronouncements about fictional scourges but is utterly uninterested in real problems.

Mr Rosen continues:

Fat lot of good that would do! And that, of course, is precisely the point.

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Psychiatrists try to defend failure to speak out on ‘abusive’ Universal Credit project

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has tried to explain its reasons for failing to object to a pilot project in Cornwall in which Job Centre advisors – with no training – decide whether claimants need mental health care.

This Site reported on the project in August:

The department… is trying to cut doctors working on mental health out of the benefit system by claiming that rank-and-file Job Centre advisers are just as able to spot mental health problems – and recommend the best treatment.

They aren’t; they can’t. It’s just a cynical bid to stop people with mental health problems from claiming Employment and Support Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.

The Tory government’s press release stated: “The initiative means work coaches can continue to refer people with mental health conditions to specialist one to one support, without the need for a GP or clinical assessment.”

I responded:

“Without the need”? Translation: “Without the support of evidence from a qualified doctor who can bring their expertise to a benefit tribunal.”

The press release said: “The support is also designed to help people find their way back into the workplace when they’re ready.”

I responded:

Translation: “The intention is to ensure that people with mental illnesses must continue to seek employment, whether they are ready or not.”

Disability News Service is now reporting that the Royal College of Psychiatrists has responded to this insult against its practitioners – after being nudged to do so by no fewer than five disability groups.

RCP states, according to the article, that:

RCP’s social inclusion lead has “continued to raise concerns and provide expert advice about the impact of welfare reform on people with mental illness and those with learning disabilities”.

[It says] it is “clear that anyone undertaking a mental health assessment needs to be sufficiently qualified to do so and, as part of the assessment, should engage with clinicians involved in providing care to the person concerned”.

[It also says] RCP believes that a jobcentre would not be “a suitable therapeutic environment to assess and discuss an individual’s mental health”.

[It adds:] “Having to do so would likely increase the stress and pressure on people with a mental illness when seeking support, and the possibility of them seeing the receipt of benefits as being conditional on them agreeing to mental health treatment.

“In addition, there is a risk that being referred to the wrong type of treatment may reduce the likelihood of seeking help in the future, make their illness worse and increase the likelihood of experiencing a future crisis.”

The disability groups are not happy with this response – and rightly so.

Why the delay in responding? Were these psychiatrists hoping the issue would go away?

Is the RCP going to talk to the Department for Work and Pensions about its concerns? Or were its comments just a sop to the disabled people’s representatives?

And what about the people of Cornwall?

What have they experienced while the RCP stood by in silence?

Source: Dismay over psychiatrists’ failure to speak out on ‘abusive’ universal credit project – Disability News Service

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When did Job Centre advisers gain their doctorates in mental health care?

It seems the Department for Work and Pensions is on a mission to discredit the medical profession in its entirety.

The department has already done its best to deny the professionalism of doctors by disregarding their evidence in favour of the results of a “yes/no” multiple choice test administered by “health care professionals” who often know nothing about the health issue suffered by a claimant.

Now it is trying to cut doctors working on mental health out of the benefit system by claiming that rank-and-file Job Centre advisers are just as able to spot mental health problems – and recommend the best treatment.

They aren’t; they can’t. It’s just a cynical bid to stop people with mental health problems from claiming Employment and Support Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.

One would have thought the fact that mental health issues are routinely disregarded by decision-makers would be enough to discourage the mentally-ill from claiming these benefits; apparently not.

The government press release, announcing funds for a pilot project in Cornwall to continue, is transparent in its nonsense doublespeak:

Hundreds of residents from Bude to Penzance are set to benefit from improved mental health support as Amber Rudd announces £100,000 funding for a life-changing project.

The initiative means work coaches can continue to refer people with mental health conditions to specialist one to one support, without the need for a GP or clinical assessment.

“Without the need”? Translation: “Without the support of evidence from a qualified doctor who can bring their expertise to a benefit tribunal.”

The support is also designed to help people find their way back into the workplace when they’re ready.

Translation: “The intention is to ensure that people with mental illnesses must continue to seek employment, whether they are ready or not.”

In fact, this treatment seems more likely to worsen their mental health and force them towards suicide – a “positive benefit outcome” as far as the DWP is concerned (as This Site has mentioned many times before).

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd showed her lack of any integrity at all by backing up the baloney to the hilt:

Amber Rudd, Work and Pensions Secretary, said:

“The pilot proved that work coaches are well placed to make sure people get help quickly and are supported to get their lives back on track so I’m delighted that it can continue.

“Importantly it has also shown that people trust their work coach to help them during their toughest times – and I’m very proud of that.”

Is that right?

I’d like to see independent evidence of that, from somebody who has been through the system.

Of course, that would be someone who is not still a part of the system – a person who could not be subjected to any coercion to say what Ms Rudd wanted; someone not living in fear of the cancellation of benefits.

Is there such a person?

And will they dare come forward?

In any case, if anybody in the DWP discovers what they consider to be a mental illness in a benefit claimant, they have a duty to report it to the NHS. Anything else is negligence and – if any harm comes to that claimant – could lead to serious allegations against the DWP.

Suppose somebody dies after the DWP decides to handle that person’s mental illness itself. Won’t it be opening itself to a charge of corporate manslaughter, at the very least?

Source: £100,000 fund to boost mental health support across Cornwall – GOV.UK

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Government advisors have had their leave cancelled – but is it really a hint at a snap election?

Why is The Guardian suggesting that a note cancelling all leave for government advisors until October 31 is a hint that Boris Johnson is preparing for a snap election after that date?

It suggests to This Writer that BoJob wants all the expertise he employs, available to him throughout the process leading up to Brexit – whether by a deal or “no deal”.

It is far more likely that a vote of “no confidence” will be triggered by opposition parties, leading to an election if they have a chance to avert “no deal” Brexit first – or at least that’s how it seems to me.

True, the Liberal Democrats are throwing the toys out of their pram at the thought of having to support a Jeremy Corbyn-led government – even for a short period – but voters may draw the obvious conclusion: That the Lib Dems will betray ‘remain’-supporting voters to keep Corbyn out.

Which would be more harmful for that party, with its tiny representation in Parliament, in the long run?

BoJob, it seems, wants all the advice he can get, in order to find a way past a “no confidence” vote and out of the European Union.

He doesn’t seem to have realised, yet, that if he even gets that far, his problems will only be beginning.

Boris Johnson’s chief of staff cancelled all leave for government advisers until 31 October in a missive on Thursday night, raising further speculation the government is planning for a forced snap election in the aftermath of the UK leaving the EU with no deal.

It remains unclear if anti-Brexit MPs in parliament would be able to swerve a general election, as senior Labour Iand Liberal Democrat figures clashed on Friday over their parties’ apparent willingness to place conditions on any unity government or coalition prepared to stop a no-deal Brexit.

Special advisers were emailed by Johnson’s senior adviser Edward Lister on Thursday night, saying there was “some confusion about taking holiday” and told none should be booked until 31 October, with compensation considered “on a case by case basis” for those who had already booked leave, though the email said advisors were free to spend their weekends “as you wish”.

Source: No 10 cancels staff leave, hinting at likelihood of snap election | Politics | The Guardian

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